I had one of those panic moments this morning. I was running some errands and exited one of the stores. As I got to my car I realized I left my doors unlocked. Panic hit me because I had thought I left my bag with my computer in the car. I quickly surveyed the car. My bag is gone. “Somebody STOLE my bag!!!!” Immediately my thoughts went to the dirty rotten person who had just ruined my day, cost me hundreds of dollars and took years of valuable info on my computer. I looked around the parking lot for the perpetrator. Passing judgement on the woman in the car next to me, the construction worker in his beat up truck, the young man reaching in his car. THEY did this to me! Suddenly God broke my panic as he reminded me that I had stopped at the office before I ran my errands. You see, I put my bag in the office. THEY didn’t do anything. I did. I had just forgotten that I dropped it at church. Suddenly the world stopped spinning and order was restored.
When I was under the assumption someone else had done something to me it was easy to have thoughts about the value of THOSE people. THEY did it to me. I would never do anything like that. I am a good person. THEY need to get their act together. Its so easy to create in my mind unfair assumption about the people around me. Somehow they are different than me. I am better. I am different. I am not like THEM.
In that moment, I wanted to blame THEM. The truth is that “I am They.” This is a phrase my pastor and I used to use. So often I am looking to blame others for the pain I am experiencing. “They” did this to me. They are responsible. But many times its not “they” is “me.” I am the one that misplaced that item that I blame my spouse for losing. I am the one who didn’t communicate clearly that caused confusion. I am the one who heard that person wrong and passed judgment on what they said. Marriages can easily end is disaster because of the “They” mentality. I have rarely seen a conflict situation that was purely the fault of one party. The path to reconciliation always begins with checking my own heart and giving grace to the other person. It is always important to begin with yourself. Then you will be able to better understand a situation better. It could be them, but before I blame someone else I need to make sure its wasn’t me first. Maybe next time, I’ll save myself the panic and judgement.
PS: Notice how many times I used “I” vs. “You”?